Daughter was named one of the Students of the Month at her soon-to-be-defunct middle school. Parents were invited to see the ceremony, of course, so there I sat Thursday afternoon. Every other child whose parent had managed to make it sat next to their mother and/or father. Every other child. My child sat next to a friend as far away from me as she could manage.
Knowing Daughter as I do, I was not surprised. We nodded and smiled to each other when she first came into the room. Another parent, knowing both of us, came over later and said, "I told Daughter you were back here. She said, 'I know.'"
Pete was in Seattle, having caught a very early morning flight out of Oakland, so he couldn't be there.
When the ceremony ended, parents were told they could either check their child out and take them home or make them go back to study hall.
It never crossed my mind to send her back in retaliation for the snub.
Going to the office to check her out, I said to the office manager, "I'm taking her but I'll be back in 20 minutes to get Eldest."
"Oh, just take him, too."
The office manager called down to his teacher to say I was there to get him. Moments later, there he was coming down the hall.
As he neared, I smiled, and I could see something change in him. His whole body seemed to collapse and his face, which was unusually white, started to show a tentative, odd-looking smile.
"Hey, they're letting Daughter out early, so I thought I'd get you, too."
He grabbed me by the arm and said, heaving a sigh of relief, "Oh. I was afraid there'd been a plane crash. Even though I knew his flight landed like 8 hours ago, I thought maybe it had been delayed."
Later, he said he was sorry for his reaction.
I told him it was me who was sorry.
I know he is nothing if not my son.